Christian Re-enchantment III: Some Enchanted Realities are Real Possibilities

The post Enchanted Realities and Truth brought out that the persistence of the mind/body problem is strong evidence that some enchanted realities are possible. How so? Since the mental is not reducible to the physical,some descriptions put forth as truth claims about thoughts and feelings could be true despite the fact that thoughts, feelings and their interactions are not objects of natural science. Still, thoughts and feelings are real dimensions of nature. They are, if you will, in the enchanted part of nature. Natural science ignores enchanted nature.

This post elaborates on what it means to say that enchanted realities are possible by classifying some of them as real possibilities. The claim that some enchanted realities are real possibilities is stronger than a claim that some narratives (descriptions) of an enchanted reality can be true. The stronger claim is that some of the objects, processes, etc., talked about in some descriptions of an enchanted reality can be part of what exists apart from any human talk or thought about them. Real possibilities are what can exist apart from any thought about them. Truth conditions for a true description of all that is real are taken from the real possibilities

Please note that when I write of different philosophical positions or theories I am writing of positions or theories I am inclined to accept. My writing is my thinking through the positions or theories to decide which to accept.

Acceptance of real possibilities is a significant philosophic stance; it’s realism. There are idealistic philosophic stances which hold that there is nothing apart from thought. Idealists concede that there are true truth claims although they do not interpret a claim’s being true as saying how reality apart from thought actually is. Idealists interpret a claim’s being true as being justified by the clearest and most careful thought. Realists interpret a claim’s being true as describing correctly the order and connection of reality. Realists admit that a claim for which they do not have strong evidence and which they do not clearly understand can be true. Typically idealists hold a coherence theory of truth. According to the coherence theory a true claim is one which fits in best with all other beliefs held after clear and careful thought. To test for truth a coherence theorist turns to other beliefs.Rather than talk of truth conditions, idealists prefer to talk of warranted assertion conditions. Typically realists hold a correspondence theory of truth. According to the correspondence theory a true claim is one which accurately describes the order and connection of what is talked about in the claim. To test for truth a correspondence theorist hopes to confront thought independent reality to determine that its order and connection is the same as that attributed to it in the claim being tested.

Idealists have no use for the category of real possibilities. For idealists the word “possible” modifies claims; not realities. To say that a claim is possible is to say that it can fit in with all other claims.

Consider how a Christian realist and a Christian idealist might interpret the claim “Jesus rose from the dead” is true. As Christians both in some way believe that Jesus rose from the dead. The words of their belief are the same. But what they believe when they explain what it means for their belief to be true turns out to be quite different. The realist focuses on reality. A realist believes primarily in the actual occurrence of some type of scenario in which a man who could be identified as Jesus burst forth from his tomb. A realist believes in a reality even if his picture of this reality is vague. As a realist I have to hold that if,anachronistically, a camera had been trained on the sepulcher there might be a photograph of Jesus getting out of it. However, natural science could never have any explanation of how this happened. Also there might not be any photograph because enchanted events need not follow the laws of physics. The Resurrection lies in the enchanted part of nature. A realist believes that Jesus’s coming out of a tomb near Jerusalem was just as much a part of reality at that time as Jerusalem being a city in Judea. Whether or not the claim “Jesus rose from the dead” is true is only of secondary interest. Truth of the claim depends on what is real.

As an idealist I focus first on something which is said and thought in order to find evidence for it. I want evidence which entitles me to profess the claim “Jesus rose from the dead.” The resurrection event itself is of only secondary interest because it is now inaccessible and inexplicable by natural science. Indeed it is kind of a relief to set aside consideration of that alleged tremendous reality of a man rising from the dead. Reflection on an enchanted reality is embarrassing. It seems intellectually more respectable to talk of evidence for a claim.

In the practice of finding evidence for belief in the resurrection, the realist and idealist follow pretty much the same procedures. The difference is that the realist keeps in mind that evidence is being sought for the occurrence of an event in the enchanted part of nature while the idealist tries to stay focused on getting entitlement to profess a claim. The main “take-away” from this post is that a realist, such as I, proclaim that some enchanted events are part of the “furniture of reality.”

An idealist’s hope to avoid the embarrassment in a secular society of acknowledging an enchanted dimension to nature, leads to developing a non-cognitivist understanding of religious beliefs about enchanted realities. There is nothing to be known about the order and connection of reality from warranted assertions about enchanted realities. They give no information. They are all fictions.

The next post focuses on enchanted realities and fictions.

My book on sexual morality requires no narrative about enchanted realities other than the everyday one about our thoughts and feeling.

My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. The publisher’s listed price is $26.99. Printed copies can be purchased here by credit card for $3.99, plus $3.71 for shipping and handling.





To purchase the printed book by check, send check of $3.99 plus $3.71 for shipping and handling per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
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